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UK pumps £15 million into photonics projects

11 Sep 2008

New research into energy-efficient lighting, lasers and displays will keep companies competitive and contribute to Britain's climate change goals.

Development of a range of more energy efficient lighting, lasers and displays is to be accelerated following the announcement of UK government funding for twelve innovative research projects. The total value of the projects is in excess of £15 million ($26 million), with the Technology Strategy Board contributing over £7m. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is contributing nearly £1m to five of the projects.

"We are committed to stimulating the development and deployment of technologies which, as well as benefiting society, also represent major business opportunities for the UK," said the Technology Strategy Board's chief executive, Iain Gray. "Advanced light and laser sources are an area where the UK has an excellent reputation for world-class research activity, a healthy industrial base and the capability to exploit the results globally."

The projects that will benefit include work on developing more efficient LEDs, new laser diodes, white-light fibre lasers and holographic optics. Some projects will see the integration of new and existing component technologies into working systems.

"Major investment in innovative research and development, by the private and public sectors working together, such as the fifteen million pounds announced today, will enable us to develop world-leading technologies that have global market potential" added Gray.

The projects to be funded include:

• MENDIPs: manufacturing emissive nanotechnology devices in polymers.

• Enhanced Display Viewability using High Efficiency Advanced LED Backlight Arrays (ENDVIEW): applying high performance LED arrays and novel optics systems to displays.

• Compact Frequency Converters - From RGB to Emission Effusiometry (CFC-FREE): developing a commercially disruptive laser platform based on miniature frequency converters at visible and IR wavelengths.

• LED lighting for the 21st Century [LL21C]: demonstrating a novel GaN LED capable of 95% light extraction and designed for general lighting applications.

• ETOE - II: using new AlInGaAs/InP materials in complex laser structures.

• Advanced White Light Fibre Laser and Applications in Medical Imaging (WhiteLase): developing advanced white light (supercontinuum) fibre lasers and their applications within biomedical imaging.

• Willet: producing a low cost, low power, high pixel count plastic display for electronic paper applications.

• Low Cost Holographic Optical Elements for Next Generation Lighting Systems, NAHO (Nano Aligned Holographic Optics): developing edge-lit lighting devices for use in buildings, based on silver halide holographic optical elements (HOEs) illuminated by LEDs.

• High Efficiency Laser Processing Systems (HELPS): demonstrating fibre-coupled diode laser sources with beam qualities good enough to be applicable to broad range of mainstream applications.

More details can be found on the Technology Strategy Board website.

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